My friend and fellow historian, Dr. John Fox (the FBI’s Historian), shared with me the following FBI dates of interest over the past century. I’m in turn offering it to you. I hope you enjoy it.
100 Years Ago
01/31/1917 BOI acquires note re German plans to commence unrestricted submarine warfare. The note leads to large counterespionage investigation.
04/06/1917 Congress declared war on Germany and the United States entered World War I. An armistice ended hostilities 7 months later, November 11, 1917.
06/15/1917 Espionage Act passed by Congress. The act forbade interfering with draft or attempting to discourage loyalty. Fines up to $10,000 and/or imprisonment for up to 20 years proscribed.
07/26/1917 J. Edgar Hoover entered on duty in the Department of Justice. The 22 year-old Hoover had just completed a Master of Law degree at George Washington University.
75 Years Ago
01/06/1942 President Franklin Roosevelt directed the FBI to be responsible for Foreign Intelligence work in the Western Hemisphere. This was the beginning of the Special Intelligence Service [SIS].
02/20/1942 The FBI, through a German double agent, code-named ND 98, established radio contact between Long Island, New York, and Hamburg, Germany, and supplied Abwehr, the German intelligence agency, with false information up to 5/2/45, when British forces captured Hamburg.
02/1942 The FBI opened an SIS office in Havana, Cuba.
03/10/1942 Brazilian police arrested Josef Jacob Johannes Starziczny, a German spy whose radio message to Germany about the itinerary of the Queen Mary was intercepted by FBI Agents attached to the SIS. The Queen Mary carried 10,000 American soldiers. The warning that its travel plans had been compromised may have allowed the boat to avoid German submarines.
03/13/1942 SA Hubert J. Treacy, Jr. was murdered in a gun battle with two Army deserters in an Abingdon, Virginia restaurant. Charles J. Lovett and James Edward Testerman opened fire on Treacy and his partner, SA Charles L. Tignor, without warning. Tignor was seriously wounded. FBI and local police captured the deserters a few hours later.
03/13/1942 Kurt Ludwig, a productive Nazi spy during the years 1940 and 1941, received a 20-year sentence. 8 other members of Ludwig’s apparatus also convicted and sentenced for between 5 and 20 years.
05/20/1942 The FBI began an investigation of Velvalee Dickinson, the “doll woman.” Dickinson used her doll business as a front for German espionage and sent coded messages disguised as business letters concerning doll sales. She pled guilty to censorship violations to avoid being tried for espionage.
06/12/1942 Four German saboteurs, led by George John Dasch, landed from a U-boat on the beach near Amagansett, Long Island, New York. On 6/17/42, a 2nd team of 4 German saboteurs, led by Edward Kerling, landed at Ponte Vedra Beach in Florida. Dasch gave himself up to the FBI on 6/19/42. Within 14 days of the first landing, all 8 saboteurs were captured by the FBI. On 8/3/42, a military commission sentenced all 8 to death. President Roosevelt reviewed the commissions work and, at their suggestion, commuted the sentences of George Dasch and Ernest Burger for their cooperation. On 8/1/1942, the other six were electrocuted. On 11/14/1942, 6 Chicago residents were convicted of treason for assisting Herman Haupt, one of the 8 saboteurs. Several residents of New York were also tried for aiding the saboteurs. After WWII, President Truman commuted the sentences of Dasch and Burger and ordered the two deported to Germany.
10/09/1942 Roger Touhy, Basil Banghart, and five other inmates escaped from the Illinois State Prison. Two of the escapees were killed in a gun battle with FBI agents on 12/29/1942. Touhy, Banghart, and Eddie Darlak were arrested at a Chicago apartment in a raid led by Director Hoover.
10/09/1942 The headquarters of a duplex receiving station was set up in Clinton, Maryland. It is considered the first FBI radio monitoring station. It replaced a radio station set up in Maryland in 1940 that was capable of transmitting to England. Additional monitoring stations were set up in Beaverton, Oregon, and Nadick, Massachusetts. The network of monitoring stations, which soon covered both coasts, Hawaii, and Alaska, was operated by the FBI until the creation of the CIA in 1947. A domestic emergency network continued to be maintained by the FBI through the mid-1960s.
12/29/1942 Director Hoover, Clyde Tolson, and a group of top-ranking FBI Agents apprehended Basil “The Owl” Banghart, Roger “Terrible” Touhy, and Edward Darlak after they and five other members of their gang escaped from the Statesville Penitentiary in Joliet, Illinois on 10/09/1942. James O’Connor and St. Clair McInerney, two of the fugitives, were killed.
60 Years Ago
4/18/1957 SA Richard P. Horan was shot and killed by fugitive, Francis P. Kolakowski at Suffield, CT. Kolakowski was wanted for unlawful flight to avoid prosecution.
6/3/1957 FBI Laboratory cryptanalysts finished decoding the “hollow nickel” message in the Abel Case.
6/21/1957 Soviet agent Rudolf Ivanovich Abel was arrested in New York City. He was convicted and sentenced to a thirty year term. In February 1962, Abel was traded to the Soviet Union for the return of US pilot Francis Gary Powers who was shot down in a U-2 plane over the Soviet Union.
11/14/1957 New York State Trooper Edgar Croswell uncovers a conference of crime bosses from across the country on the estate of Joseph Barbara in Apalachin, New York. In response to the exposure of a nationwide criminal syndicate, Director Hoover instituted the Top Hoodlum program to develop information about prominent criminal leaders and their activities.
50 Years Ago
01/27/1967 NCIC became operational. During 11/1971, a Computerized Criminal History file was added to the NCIC.
02/08/1967 Senator John L. McClellan, Arkansas, introduced bill that would become the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968.
03/29/1967 James Robert Ringrose, a bad check artist and “Top Ten” fugitive, was captured by Japanese Police in an Osaka, Japan bank. He held the record for traveling the longest distance from the original crime scene.
06/12/1967 The US Supreme Court, in the case Berger v. New York, declared a New York wiretap law to be too broad, resulting in a “trespassory intrusion into a constitutionally protected area.” The law, therefore, was declared invalid.
06/15/1967 Attorney General Ramsey Clark issued instructions strictly limiting the use of wiretaps and electronic eavesdropping.
07/16/1967 FBI Agents captured Victor Gerald Bono and Florenciao Lopez Mationg, a pair of heavily armed “Top Ten” fugitives who had killed two U. S. Border Patrol Officers in an isolated mountain cabin near Anza, California, on June 17th.
12/18/1967 In Katz v. US, the Supreme Court reversed the conviction of Katz for violating Title 18, USC, Sec.1084 (a gambling violation). The decision was 7-1. FBI recorded conversations on public phones by Katz with a mike on the outside of the phone booth so only getting Katz’s conversation. This was held to be an unreasonable search/seizure.
35 Years Ago
4/7/1972 Richard Floyd McCoy, Jr., hijacked a plane en route from Denver to Los Angeles, forcing the pilot to land at San Francisco where a $500,000 ransom, 4 parachutes, and McCoy’s luggage were brought aboard. McCoy parachuted out over Provo, Utah; he was apprehended by the FBI 2 days later.
5/2/1972 J. Edgar Hoover died in his sleep at the age of 77.
5/8/1972 The new FBI Academy opened on the US Marine Corps Base at Quantico, Virginia. On 6/26/72, the first expanded FBI National Academy class commenced at Quantico with 200 students attending the session. A significant feature of Academy curricula for new Agents, National Academy and FBI Support was training in the forensic science of fingerprint identification. Previously, the Latent Fingerprint Section had been responsible for this training in Identification Division classrooms in Washington, D.C. The Administrative Advanced Latent Fingerprint Course became the first specialized police course taught at the Academy to be accredited by the University of Virginia, The Latent Print Photography course was granted accreditation too.
5/19/1972 A bomb exploded in a restroom in the Pentagon building causing extensive property damage. Weathermen claimed credit in a series of letters.
6/17/1972 Washington, D.C., police arrested 5 persons inside the Democratic National Committee Headquarters at the Watergate Office Building. The next day it was learned that illegal bugging and wiretapping had occurred; the FBI was requested to investigate. On 9/15/72, an 8-count indictment charging conspiracy, burglary, and interception of communications violations was returned against James Walter McCord, Jr.; Everett Howard Hunt, Jr.; George Gordon Liddy; Bernard L. Barker; Eugenio R. Martinez; Frank A. Sturgis; and Virgilio R. Gonzalez in the Watergate case. The trial began 1/8/73. All but McCord and Liddy pled guilty. McCord and Liddy were found guilty 1/30/73. The results of this investigation eventually led to the resignation of President Nixon.
7/12/1972 The first female SAs since the 1920’s were appointed as Special Agents and attended training at the FBI Academy at Quantico.
11/3/1972 Members of the militant group, American Indian Movement [AIM] invaded and occupied the Bureau of Indian Affairs office building in Washington, D.C. Sometime during the night of 11/8/1972, the radicals slipped out of the building unnoticed.
30 Years Ago
1/5/1987 Nicodemo “Little Nicky” Scarfo, reputed Philadelphia organized crime boss, and Philadelphia Councilman Leland Beloff were indicted for conspiring to extort $1 million from a developer. On 4/9/87, Scarfo was also indicted along with 11 associates for the murder of a New Jersey municipal court judge. He was convicted on 5/6/87 and was sentenced on 8/5/87 to 14 years in prison and ordered to pay a $150,000 fine. Scarfo and 16 associates were indicted on 1/11/88 for murder, attempted murder, extortion, and other crimes. On 11/19/88, all were found guilty. The convictions were upheld
9/13/1987 Fawaz Younis became the first suspected foreign terrorist arrested by the FBI under a 1984 law bringing perpetrators of terrorism against Americans under US jurisdiction regardless of where the acts occur. Younis was implicated in the 1985 hijacking of a Jordanian airplane containing 4 Americans. In November, it was learned that he also participated in the 1985 hijacking of TWA Flight 847. On 3/14/89, a US district court jury convicted Fawaz Younis of the 1985 hijacking of a Jordanian airplane with 2 Americans on board. On 10/4/89, Younis was sentenced to 30 years in prison.
11/2/1987 Former federal Judge William Steele Sessions was sworn in as the Director of the FBI. He was nominated on 7/24/87 by President Reagan, and on 9/25/87, was confirmed as FBI Director by the US Senate 90 to 0.
11/17/1987 A federal jury convicted neo-Nazis Bruce Pierce and David Lane on charges of violating civil rights stemming from the murder of Jewish radio talk show host Alan Berg in 6/84. White supremacists Richard Scutari and Jean Craig were found not guilty of the same crimes.
12/9/1987 Stella Maudine Nickell was indicted in Washington State for product tampering in the deaths of her husband and a stranger by mixing cyanide into Excedrin capsules. This was the first such case to be brought to trial. The deaths occurred in 6/86. She was convicted in federal court in Seattle on 5/9/88 and sentenced to 90 years in prison on 6/17/88.
25 Years Ago
01/09/1992 An announcement was made that an estimated 300 SAs would be reassigned from foreign counterintelligence duties to violent crime investigations across the country in connection with the FBI’s “Safe Streets” program. Changes in world conditions, such as the Soviet Union being dissolved on 12/25/91 and being replaced by the Commonwealth of Independent States, appeared to provide the FBI with an unprecedented opportunity to intensify its violent crimes initiatives.
02/03/1992 The FBI announced that it was directing increased resources, including 50 additional SAs, toward long-term, wide-scale investigations into health care fraud. This cooperative venture would include the Department of Health and Human Services, Assistant US Attorneys, investigative experts from specialized agencies, state and local law enforcement and regulators, and private insurance carriers.
03/11/1992 The FBI’s Criminal Justice Information Services Division was established. The new Division, formed to consolidate existing FBI services provided to law enforcement and criminal justice agencies, was planned to occupy a new FBI facility in Clarksburg, West Virginia. The Division initially incorporated the FBI’s NCIC Program, including NCIC 2000; the Integrated Automated Fingerprint Identification System; and the Uniform Crime Reports Program.
04/02/1992 John Gotti, boss of the Gambino organized crime family, was convicted on murder and racketeering charges following a 10-week jury trial in US District Court. He had been indicted on 12/11/90 in connection with the 1985 murder of Paul Castellano. Also convicted in this matter was underboss Frank Locascio.
04/21/1992 The FBI and an organization representing over 300 African-American SAs jointly announced that they had reached an agreement in principle that would settle class-wide racial discrimination claims against the FBI. Since the SAs presented a list of issues of concern in 4/91, the FBI participated in discussions with the SAs and their attorneys in an effort to resolve their concerns. A final settlement agreement was announced on 1/26/93.
06/30/1992 Over 1,000 SAs and 120 other law enforcement officers made arrests, conducted searches, and seized assets in over 50 cities and towns as part of Operation GOLDPILL. This was the most widespread criminal fraud investigation of the health care industry ever conducted. The investigation, which lasted nearly 2 years and was conducted by 16 FBI field offices, included use of undercover Agents and court-authorized electronic surveillance. The FBI closely coordinated its efforts with numerous federal, state, and local agencies, as well as representatives of the private sector.
07/1992 The FBI Laboratory installed DRUGFIRE, a database to store and link specific, unique markings left on bullets and shell casings after a gun is fired. Facts on drug-related shootings are stored in DRUGFIRE and used to link crimes committed with the same gun.
08/10/1992 Indictments were unsealed against over 40 individuals in 4 states and 2 countries in connection with Operation EQUINE. That international investigation targeted the use and distribution of black-market anabolic steroids. The investigation began in Detroit, Michigan, 2 years earlier and involved the FBI’s use of undercover Agents and wiretaps with assistance and cooperation from other agencies, including DEA, the Food and Drug Administration, the US Postal Service, and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.
09/15/1992 The FBI announced that violent auto theft, or “carjacking,” would be included as a priority in the FBI’s “Safe Streets” program. Carjacking, an offense known to law enforcement for several years, had recently received wide media and public attention following a series of sometimes brutal attacks on drivers in the Washington, D.C., area. In one such case, a suburban Maryland mother was dragged to her death during a carjacking.
12/1992 The FBI released the first statistics available on hate crimes. The FBI compiles these figures based on the Hate Crime Statistics Act of 1990, which requires DOJ to collect such data. Nearly 3,000 law enforcement agencies in 32 states supplied the 1991 data.
20 Years Ago
2/26/1998 SSA Frederick Whitehurst resigned from the Laboratory Division. He had been on administrative leave since January 1997. Whitehurst and the FBI had reached a settlement. The DOJ dropped pending disciplinary actions against him and Whitehurst dropped his suit against the FBI.
5/29/1997 The CJIS complex in Clarksburg, West Virginia officially opened. Director Freeh, AD Charles Archer, Senator Robert Byrd, Congressman Alan B. Mollohan, and WV Governor Cecil H. Underwood participated in the ceremony.
7/6/1997 Verdicts were reached in Operation Counter Copy, a multi-agency investigation by the FBI, the DOJ, and the US Customs Service into intellectual property crimes. Three convictions, 35 indictments, and eight guilty pleas were obtained in this effort to crack-down on trademark and copyright infringement violations
7/17/1997 FBI agents affected the arrest and extradition of Mir Aimal Kasi [alt. sp. Kansi] to the United States from Pakistan. Kasi killed two CIA employees and wounded three others on the George Washington Parkway outside of the entrance to the CIA’s headquarters. He was placed on the 10 Most Wanted Fugitives List in 1993. On 11/14/1997, he was convicted for the murders and sentenced to death.
7/1997 The FBI Homepage received a record 25 million hits due to national interest in the Cunanan investigation. The average number of hits per month prior to this had been 12 million.
8/5/1997 Clarence M. Kelley, former Director from 1973-1978, died at the age of 85.
8/1997 Washington Metropolitan Field Office moved from facility at Buzzard’s Point to 601 4th. Street, N.W., Washington, D.C, approximately five blocks from FBI Headquarters. The dedication ceremony was held on 9/26.
10/24/1997 Kurt Alan Stand, Theresa Marie Squillacote, and James Michael Clark were arrested and charged with conspiracy to commit espionage. The three were accused of supplying information to the Soviet Union and later South Africa over a 20-year period. During a sting operation the three supplied classified DOD and CIA documents to undercover agents. In January of 1999, Squillacote and Stand were convicted on espionage charges and sentenced to 21- and 17-year sentences. James Michael Clark received a 12-year prison sentence.
11/24/1997 Bonnano and Gambino family members were indicted for bribing stockbrokers to use high pressure sales tactics to drive up the price and volume of a fitness company stock. Family members would then take advantage of the inflated value of the stock. The scheme cost investors more than $3 million. 19 family members, corporate executives and stockbrokers were indicted for racketeering, extortion, securities fraud, and bank fraud.
11/1997 The FBI concluded its investigation of the crash of TWA Flight 800. The tragedy killed 230 persons and led to widespread speculation that the crash was caused by a terrorist bomb or, even, a US missile. After 7,000 interviews, the largest aircraft reconstruction in commercial aviation history, and a thorough investigation the National Transportation Safety Board and the FBI concluded that the crash was due to technical problems.
11/1997 The FBI Laboratory announced that it was the first crime lab in the country that could positively identify individuals based on mitochondrial DNA (mDNA). This allowed a broader application of forensic DNA analysis to be used since mDNA samples could be extracted from minute evidentiary samples like a human hair.
10 Years Ago
01/25/2007 James Seale, a former Ku Klux Klan member, was indicted on two counts of kidnapping and one count of conspiracy related to his role in the abductions and slayings of two African-American men in 1964.
02/27/2007 The FBI established a partnership with the NAACP, National Urban League and the Southern Poverty Law Center to help with the Civil Rights-Era Cold Case Initiative.
03/30/2007 More than 100 individuals are arrested across 12 FBI Field Offices as a result of a targeted, two-week nationwide initiative involving federal, state and local law enforcement to disrupt neighborhood gangs and their criminal activity. The field offices included El Paso, Detroit, St. Louis, Houston, San Juan, San Antonio, New Haven, Cleveland, Omaha, San Diego, Sacramento and Charlotte.
04/05/2007 Special Agent Barry Lee Bush of the Newark Field Office was shot and killed while working an investigation into a series of armed bank robberies. Information suggests that Bush may have been fatally wounded as a result of the accidental discharge of another agent’s weapon. SA Bush and his team were in pursuit of heavily armed serial robbers who are believed to be responsible for four bank robberies.
04/05/2007 The FBI partners with the National Retail Federation and the Retail Industry Leader’s Association to create the Law Enforcement Retail Partnership LERPnet). The new database will be used by loss prevention industry experts and law enforcement to share information and help stop theft by criminal organizations which costs the retail industry an estimated $30 billion each year. This was done to combat the growing problem of organized retail theft.
04/20/2007 The FBI’s Behavioral Analysis Unit assisted law enforcement in the wake of the mass shooting at Virginia Tech. The BAU provides assistance through investigative analysis. Their work attempts to shed light into the how and why of the crime, the extent and level of pre-planning involved and the future implications such as whether or not it inspires copycats.
06/07/2007 The FBI’s Digital Evidence Laboratory (DEL), one of the largest in the world, was formally recognized for its efforts in achieving international accreditation by the American Society of Crime Lab Directors/Laboratory Accreditation Board.
06/17/2007 FBI announced the Bureau-wide deployment of the first phase of SENTINEL, the next generation information management system.
08/02/2007 The FBI was supporting the NTSB in the investigation of the collapsed bridge in Minnesota. Special Agents, Evidence Response Team and support personnel from the Minneapolis Field Office responded to the scene. ERT members from San Antonio, Pittsburgh and Chicago also deployed to the scene. Underwater Search Evidence Response teams from LA, NY and WFO also responded.
09/10/2007 Top Ten Fugitive Diego Leon Montoya Sanchez was captured.
10/02/2007 At the request of the Department of State, the FBI was sending a team to Iraq to assist in the investigation into the Sept. 16 shooting incident allegedly involving Blackwater employees.
11/29/2007 Eight individuals are identified in the second phase of Operation “Bot Roast.” The operation began in June 2006 and to date has netted eight additional indictments, guilty pleas and sentences related to botnet activity. A botnet was a collection of compromised computers under the remote command and control of a criminal “botherder”. Field Offices included in the second phase were Cincinnati, Detroit, Jacksonville, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Sacramento and Washington, D.C.
5 Years Ago
01/19/2012 The Justice Department charged the leaders of an internet file hosting service, Megaupload, with widespread online copyright infringement. Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom, a resident of New Zealand, although named in the indictment, has successfully fought off extradition as of August 2016.
05/02/2012 Medicare Fraud Strike Force Charges 107 Individuals for Approximately $452 Million in False Billing.
06/25/2012 FBI Breaks Ground for New TEDAC Laboratory.
07/01/2012 The FBI deployed Sentinel, a digital case management system for Bureau investigations. Sentinel uses a web-based application for entering, reviewing, approving, and researching case and intelligence information. It also streamlines processes through “electronic workflow,” making new case information and intelligence available more quickly to agents and analysts.
07/19/2012 Judge Webster Delivers Webster Commission Report on Fort Hood.
12/11/2012 FBI, International Law Enforcement Disrupt International Organized Cyber Crime Ring Related to Butterfly Botnet.